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Scammers posing as your Facebook friend to offer you a COVID-19 grant

COVID-19 has ravaged America for more than one year. Not only has it affected the health of many people but also their pocketbooks. So, people are looking for ways to make ends meet during this stressful time.

You get a message from a good friend on Facebook and they tell you they’ve got a deal for you. Your own friends wouldn’t steer you wrong, right? Actually, think again.

Now, scammers are out in full force. The latest warning from the identify theft center is about criminals on Facebook and Instagram hacking people’s accounts and sending messages out about receiving a COVID-19 grant.

They say that money will be sent your way if you just send a gift card to cover the taxes.

Mark Flores is a retired FBI Special Agent and he says, that shouldn’t happen. “They’re trying to steal your identity by asking you to fill out an application associated with this grant, from there, they are going to get your personally identifiable information, steal your identity and access your accounts,” said Flores. “Second of all, they are hoping that if you pay the taxes on this grant, they will also get money from you as well.”

These scammers believe that a message coming from a friend has a better chance of resonating with you.

As always there are ways to recognize COVID-19 grant scams:

  • Be wary of unusual messages from “friends” on social media
  • Never pay for a free government grant
  • Research the agency that’s giving out the payments, and check for look-a-likes
  • Report these scam accounts to Instagram and Facebook

The Better Business Bureau says this scam is growing beyond just Facebook and Instagram to other social media platforms.

Reporter:Rich Kolko
Writer:Drew Hill
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